Picking The Right AC For You

If you live in a climate that can get very warm, then you know just how valuable a good air conditioner is. To help you pick the AC that's best for you, here's an explanation of two of the most common varieties: central air conditioners and heat pumps.


The central air conditioning system is extremely common, and for good reason. One of the primary benefits of a central AC is that it can effectively cool an entire house while sharing some of the same infrastructure as central heating. Both your AC and heater can use the ventilation system to distribute cold/hot air throughout the house.

A central AC generally consists of a large unit that sits either partially or entirely outside. Through the use of coolant, some air is cooled down and blown into the house via a fan. However, heat cannot be spontaneously eliminated from a closed system, so there must also be heat created in the process of cooling your house. The air conditioner is located outside your building in order to easily vent that hot air away from the interior, which you are trying to keep cool.

Central air conditioners can potentially lose quite a bit of efficiency depending on the state of your ventilation. Poor ventilation systems can lead to much higher energy expenditures on your part, since a large portion of the cool air may be lost in the vents.

Heat Pumps

One of the more interesting options for residential HVAC is the heat pump, which is actually a reversible system. This means that you can use a heat pump as an air conditioner during hot summers and then convert it into a heater during cold winters. Heat pumps are also very efficient, which means that they can provide cool air at minimum cost to you.

Like a central air conditioner, a heat pump will be partially outside your house. During cold months, the heat pump will absorb ambient heat outside, increase it, and push it into your house. During hot months, it will absorb heat from inside your house and vent it outside.

However, heat pumps are very complex and precise systems, which means that they are both difficult to install and require frequent maintenance. On top of that, heat pumps take a big hit in efficiency during extremely cold periods, such as winters where the temperature is regularly below freezing. During such times, a heat pump will cost a lot more to run than other comparable systems. For more information, check out companies like Arc Electric & Air Conditioning & Heating Inc.